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Leica Ultravid 8x20 BL vs Nikon Travelite Ex 8x25

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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 19:09   #1
MontyH
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Leica Ultravid 8x20 BL vs Nikon Travelite Ex 8x25

I'm not sure where to put this - the Nikon forum or the Leica forum. Basically I've just compared my first pair of expensive binoculars (the Leica) to my trusty old Nikon Travelites, wanted to share my thoughts and see what other people think.

For many years, I've been very happy with a pair of Nikon Travelite Ex waterproof 8x25 binoculars when hiking.

My criteria when looking for binoculars had been: small size, low weight, waterproof, works well with spectacles, decent quality view. They were mainly for navigating / looking around the hills, so I was mainly concerned with clarity and they are really good for that. I think I tried about 10 models of binocular, probably from about 20 to 200 in price range, and the Travelites seemed streets ahead of the others. They were only about 100, and for the use I have got out of them, they now seem like a bargain.

Recently I wondered if I could improve on them, and was tempted into my first pair of expensive / apparently well regarded binoculars. I am not sure if "alpha" is the right word, but I have just bought a pair of Leica Ultravid 8x20 BLs, second hand.

This gave me an immediate improvement on the "small size" and "low weight" requirements. They are quite a bit smaller, and weigh 240g vs 390g.

I did worry that after spending the money, I'd find some things that I didn't like compared with my trusty Travelites, and sure enough I already have.

I'm not an expert on binoculars, far from it, but have checked some of the things that I've become aware of through reading forums such as this.

So far, I'd say:

* Size & weight: the Ultravids win - I want to keep things small and light as they are for hiking with, and may spend most of the time in my backpack on some trips. I can also hold the Ultravids very steady in spite of their lower weight and smaller size.

* Eye placement with spectacles: The Travelites win - they seem to fall into place much more easily. I think the Ultravids need to be positioned a bit more precisely, or maybe I just need to get used to them.

* Eye placement without spectacles: A draw - with the eye cups pulled up, they both quickly get my eyes to where they need to be.

* Focusing at great distance / infinity: The Travelites win. When I am wearing spectacles, I can focus on distant objects fine with both. But without spectacles, I can't focus on distant objects at all with the Ultravids. The focus knob stops before I get there. The Travelites however allow me to focus on the most distant objects, and there is still a bit of wiggle room spare. This is a great pity, as the view is more immersive when I take my glasses off and get my eyes close in.

* Close focusing: Both are pretty good, but the Ultravids win by a few feet. I do find this fun at times for insects etc.

* Waterproofness: I don't want to test this! All I know is that they are both nitrogen-purged, fog proof and waterproof. The Travelites have never failed me, and I often wear them over my sweating chest, walking up hills in rain and snow. I hope the Ultravids provide such good service and I have no reason to suspect otherwise.

* Eyepiece not fogging externally when using without spectacles: The Ultravids win. I can look through the Ultravids for a long time and they don't fog, but my Travelites fog up within a few seconds.

* Looking at objects when there is a light source overhead between me and the object: I have only tried this indoors with a light bulb as the bright object so far. The Ultravids win by a mile. The Travelites wash out quite badly.

* Clarity / detail / resolution / sharpness (not sure if I am using the right terms): It depends on the scene. When looking over a field in moderate daylight (an overcast sky in the early evening), the Ultravids seemed to show distance objects more sharply. However, indoors, it was much harder to separate them, and after trying to read small writing at the opposite side of the room, I'd say the Travelites just had the edge. I guess that's to do with the smaller objective lens in the Ultravids, and that provided there is plenty of light, the Ultravids should pull out ahead, but when it gets dim enough, the Travelites are more likely to win?

* Colours: The Travelites seem great, and it had never occurred to me I could ask for more when it came to colours ... until I compared them with the Ultravids. When looking across a field towards trees, the Leica made me very aware of just how many shades of green and brown were in the scene. I wasn't sure if I was imagining it at first, but every time I switched back to the Travelites, the more washed out they seemed. The Ultravids are a delight in this regard.

* Focus knob: The Travelites win. The knob is bigger and smoother and has no play. The Ultravid is still good, but I found myself using both finger and thumb, rather than just finger, to try to control it accurately.

I expect I'll notice more differences in time. E.g. in the short time I've had with them to compare, I haven't noticed any chromatic aberration in either, but I do remember noticing it on occasion in the past with the Travelites. Also, I haven't compared them on a really bright sunny day - just an overcast evening. I have a suspicion the Ultravids will really come into their own in strong light.

I paid about three times as much for the second-hand Ultravids as I did for the new Travelites. Are the Ultravids worth three times as much? For the tiny size, tiny weight, stunning colours and ability to handle overhead light, I'd say yes. So far I'm very glad I made the leap. And the proof is in the pudding: sometimes, when packing light, I've left the Travelites behind. I can't imagine ever leaving the Ultravids behind.

If anyone can suggest things to try to make me appreciate them even more, I'm all ears:)
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 20:02   #2
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Hi Monty,

Welcome to Bird Forum!

Do you change the diopter setting on your 8x20 BL Ultravid when you use it without your glasses? I wonder if it has enough focus past infinity for you.

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Wednesday 24th April 2019 at 20:05.
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Old Wednesday 24th April 2019, 20:11   #3
MontyH
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Hi Monty,

Welcome to Bird Forum!

Do you change the diopter setting on your 8x20 BL Ultravid when you use it without your glasses? I wonder if it has enough focus past infinity for you.

Bob
Thanks Bob.

I initially set the diopter when wearing glasses. When I noticed I couldn't focus to infinity without glasses, I *think* I tried closing each eye to confirm it was an overall problem, however, now that you mention it, in all the excitement maybe I got confused.

It's dark now, but when I next get a chance I'll check again. If it turns out it was just the right eye that had the problem and it's fixable with the diopter setting, that would be great.

Though I didn't need to change the setting on the Travelites when I took my glasses off, so I won't get my hopes up too much.
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Old Thursday 25th April 2019, 00:19   #4
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Monty:

You have made a good post, these are both good binoculars, and are different in many ways.

The Travelite is a great binocular as in very easy to use, and is comfortable.

The Leica 8x20 is much smaller, better optically, but harder to use.

I have both and agree with your summation.

Jerry
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Old Thursday 25th April 2019, 01:15   #5
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Nice review Monty and welcome to Bird Forum. I just got a Leica 8x20 BCR myself. Received it today and like you I am quite impressed with it. I accept the fact that it is going to be more fussy , as far as, eye placement compared to a full size binocular and not as good in low light but that is the trade-off for it's tiny size and weight. It is an optical jewel for an 8.5 oz. binocular. and it is a masterpiece of engineering. It was a challenge putting on the strap because it was difficult to thread two straps thru the little strap retainers. I can see a lot of the good Leica optical characteristics like color saturation as you noted even in their smallest binocular. Nice review!
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Old Thursday 25th April 2019, 02:53   #6
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Originally Posted by MontyH View Post
...If anyone can suggest things to try to make me appreciate them even more, I'm all ears:)
You may have seen this already, but I am a big proponent of unfolding the Leica 8x20 BL asymmetrically to get a better grip that is more consistent and thus makes it easier to learn to hold the bins in precise eye alignment. For whichever hand you prefer to use for focus, unfold that side all the way to the stop, then use the other side to get the IPD setting correct.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for some pictures: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...sp#post2439175

It's a great little bin!

--AP
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 01:47   #7
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Monty

Please do update us on your experience with focus at great distance with the UV. About three years ago I dropped my Leica UV 8x20 and immediately they would no longer focus beyond @ 150 to 200 yards. Had to send them back to Leica for repair. Hopefully you can straighten out your issue by adjusting the diopter.

They are a beautiful small bin.

Mike
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 10:28   #8
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and some of the tips.

Re opening one side fully first, that eliminates one variable for setting them up for good eye placement, so I'll be practising that - great idea. It made me realise another obvious reason why I find the Travelites easier: I tend to leave them open at the correct distance for me, even when packing them, as they fit in their case fine when open. However I was in the habit of folding the Ultravids fully after I'd finished with them. They fold down so small that they kind of encourage you to do so! I may make a case for the Ultravids which fits them while open. They didn't come with a case, which is fine, as I will be making a very cheap and cheerful, ultralight bag for them anyway.

Re fitting a neck strap, mine didn't come with any (just the binoculars and two eyepiece covers). I used some very thin Dyneema cord for mine and also struggled to fit it through the gaps. It's probably sacrilege to just put some cord and tie a knot in it on these lovely-looking bins, but really I see them as a piece of ultralight hiking equipment so I don't want to get too precious about them. I kind of like that they are second hand and have some small dings already, it means I don't need to worry about keeping them pristine.

Re the focusing at distance: I had another play with them, and, at first, confirmed that neither L or R barrels let me focus to infinity without my glasses on. Then later, after more playing with the diopter, I was surprised to find that the L barrel suddenly did allow me to focus to infinity and a bit beyond. I'm not sure I fully understand why, so two questions:

1) Am I right in thinking that the RANGE of focus of the LEFT barrel can be affected by the diopter setting? I suspect so, as the mechanism inside both barrels will be moving in tandem when the focus knob is turned. So the mechanism in the RIGHT barrel, being in a different position to that of the left barrel due to the diopter setting, will, when it reaches the end of travel, potentially prevent the mechanism in the left barrel travelling as far as it could. This seems to make sense but I'd never thought of that before.

2) On my diopter guage, i.e. the arrow and lines drawn on the focusing knob, it is quite easy for mine to get into a state whereby the arrow goes well beyond the lines in one direction. I can get things back to normal by continually turning the focusing knob by itself back a bit, then turning the other way while holding the diopter button in, so eventually the arrow seems central to the guage, and the diopter setting allows it to travel just to either side of the lines. Is that normal or is it possible that mine are faulty?

Either way, in spite of getting to focus beyond infinity with the left barrel, I haven't found any way to focus beyond infinity with the right barrel - it gets very close, almost tolerable at distance, but not quite there.
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 10:41   #9
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Originally Posted by mwhogue View Post
Monty

Please do update us on your experience with focus at great distance with the UV. About three years ago I dropped my Leica UV 8x20 and immediately they would no longer focus beyond @ 150 to 200 yards. Had to send them back to Leica for repair. Hopefully you can straighten out your issue by adjusting the diopter.

They are a beautiful small bin.

Mike
Being second hand, I do wonder if mine are faulty and have been dropped. The metal around the objective lenses has some minor dings in it, but nothing severe looking.

While it's very disappointing not to be able to use them without glasses - a definite downgrade from my Travelites - one thing that makes me think they are not faulty is that I have noticed a similar thing with a good Nikon monocular: with my glasses on, I can focus them to infinity and beyond. Without my glasses on, I can only get them to tantalisingly close to infinity, and am constantly frustrated that I feel I could be getting distant objects just a little bit sharper if only I could dial the knob a bit further!
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 11:59   #10
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Monty,

Based on your description in 2) above in your post 8, that is exactly the way my diopter behaved after I dropped mine. I think the indicator arrow should only go slightly beyond the lines equally in both directions as in my repaired model but not "well beyond" the line in only one direction as you describe (?). That and/or as you suggest the UV 8x20 may be a model which will not focus for you at great distance given your eyesight. Hope you can get your issue straightened out.
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 12:41   #11
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Thanks Bob.

I initially set the diopter when wearing glasses. When I noticed I couldn't focus to infinity without glasses, I *think* I tried closing each eye to confirm it was an overall problem, however, now that you mention it, in all the excitement maybe I got confused.

It's dark now, but when I next get a chance I'll check again. If it turns out it was just the right eye that had the problem and it's fixable with the diopter setting, that would be great.

Though I didn't need to change the setting on the Travelites when I took my glasses off, so I won't get my hopes up too much.

Monty,

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I am thinking that you should have corrected vision of 20/20 when you are wearing your glasses. Right?

If that is the case then ideally your binocular's diopter setting should be in the center neutral position when you use it while wearing your glasses. (Although it can happen that a binocular can come from the factory with its diopter setting "off center" so to speak.)

If everything is working right, then set the diopter in this manner when you are not wearing your glasses . First put the diopter into the neutral position.

Then using the center focus knob with your left eye only, focus it into sharpness on an object about 50-75 feet away. Then, using the diopter mechanism with your right eye only, focus the same object into sharpness. If your right eye won't reach focus the binocular does not have enough focus past infinity for your eyes.

(I have a Zeiss Victory 8x20 binocular made in Hungary that has this problem of short focus past infinity. I was able to use it after I had cataract surgery and received a new lens giving me near normal vision in my right eye.)

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Friday 26th April 2019 at 13:04.
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Old Friday 26th April 2019, 16:22   #12
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Hi Monty,
Can you focus on 'infinity' with both sides without glasses if you turn the binocular upside down?

Regards,
B.
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 11:34   #13
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Monty,

Based on your description in 2) above in your post 8, that is exactly the way my diopter behaved after I dropped mine. I think the indicator arrow should only go slightly beyond the lines equally in both directions as in my repaired model but not "well beyond" the line in only one direction as you describe (?). That and/or as you suggest the UV 8x20 may be a model which will not focus for you at great distance given your eyesight. Hope you can get your issue straightened out.
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Monty,

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I am thinking that you should have corrected vision of 20/20 when you are wearing your glasses. Right?

If that is the case then ideally your binocular's diopter setting should be in the center neutral position when you use it while wearing your glasses. (Although it can happen that a binocular can come from the factory with its diopter setting "off center" so to speak.)

If everything is working right, then set the diopter in this manner when you are not wearing your glasses . First put the diopter into the neutral position.

Then using the center focus knob with your left eye only, focus it into sharpness on an object about 50-75 feet away. Then, using the diopter mechanism with your right eye only, focus the same object into sharpness. If your right eye won't reach focus the binocular does not have enough focus past infinity for your eyes.

(I have a Zeiss Victory 8x20 binocular made in Hungary that has this problem of short focus past infinity. I was able to use it after I had cataract surgery and received a new lens giving me near normal vision in my right eye.)

Bob

Thanks very much for your help on this, all of you.

After more playing with the diopter settings I now think that there isn't a fault.

I earlier described what I thought may be a problem, in that I had got the binoculars into a state whereby the diopter arrow was off the scale in one direction, but could not even get to the end of the scale in the other. Now I think that, by design, the arrow should go off the end in both directions, but if you happen to have the focus knob rotated all the way to the right / clockwise / most distant focus, then you will not be able to set the diopter any more to the right.

First, the good news re them behaving normally. If I set the focus knob somewhere in the middle, then I can set the diopter arrow symmetrically either side of 'zero'.

Here it is all the way to the left:

https://i.ibb.co/6vXfQsC/diopter-leftmost.jpg

Here it is all the way to the right:

https://i.ibb.co/NN1cpck/diopter-rightmost.jpg

That looks symmetrical to me.

Then, when I look through both barrels with my glasses on, with the diopter set to zero, they work great and can focus just beyond infinity.

Then, when I take my glasses off and look through the left barrel, and try to set the focus to infinity, it doesn't quite get there. However, if I move the diopter arrow a bit to the left, that allows me to turn the focus knob a bit more clockwise and I can now get to infinity with the left barrel:

https://i.ibb.co/NSYpSny/diopter-set...eft-barrel.jpg

But I can't get to infinity with the right barrel. In fact, in order to get to infinity with the left barrel, I've had to set the diopter to a position which takes the right barrel even further away from infinity.

Also, in answer to my previous question, it does indeed seem that, while the diopter setting is usually thought of purely in terms of focussing the right barrel, it does have the knock on effect of changing how distant you can focus the left barrel.

Can I ask people if their Ultravids behave in this way:

If you turn the focus wheel all the way clockwise (furthest focus) till it stops, and then turn the diopter arrow all the way anti-clockwise (so it's off the left of the scale), does that then allow you to turn the focus know even further clockwise. And once you have done that, is the diopter setting locked - you simply cannot move it either left or right?:

https://i.ibb.co/wY47WBn/diopter-stuck.jpg

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Hi Monty,
Can you focus on 'infinity' with both sides without glasses if you turn the binocular upside down?

Regards,
B.
I did try looking through the left barrel with the right eye, and vice-versa, if that's logically equivalent to what you are getting at?
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 15:48   #14
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Hi Monty,
No.
If your eyes have different prescriptions it might be possible to use them upside down without glasses getting both sides to infinity.
However, it might not.

The situation you describe is not confined to 8x20 Ultravids. It can apply to many binoculars and how much focus travel they have. It depends on the users eye prescription.
Some binoculars only have only plus/minus 2 dioptres, some 3 dioptres, but hopefully 4 or more dioptres.
I think the Minolta 8x23AF goes to 13 dioptres and some Porroprisms to around 10 dioptres.

The 8x20 Ultravid could be altered to work at infinity for both your eyes without glasses but you may lose some close focus ability. You would need to give your eye prescription. In some binoculars this can be achieved easily, in some not, and with some may not be possible.
I don't know if Leica would do this, but an independent repairer might.

There is a limit to focus travel in a binocular, and I suppose some people cannot achieve good binocular vision even without a binocular if the two eyes differ greatly in prescription.
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 16:55   #15
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Hi Monty,
No.
If your eyes have different prescriptions it might be possible to use them upside down without glasses getting both sides to infinity.
However, it might not.

The situation you describe is not confined to 8x20 Ultravids. It can apply to many binoculars and how much focus travel they have. It depends on the users eye prescription.
Some binoculars only have only plus/minus 2 dioptres, some 3 dioptres, but hopefully 4 or more dioptres.
I think the Minolta 8x23AF goes to 13 dioptres and some Porroprisms to around 10 dioptres.

The 8x20 Ultravid could be altered to work at infinity for both your eyes without glasses but you may lose some close focus ability. You would need to give your eye prescription. In some binoculars this can be achieved easily, in some not, and with some may not be possible.
I don't know if Leica would do this, but an independent repairer might.

There is a limit to focus travel in a binocular, and I suppose some people cannot achieve good binocular vision even without a binocular if the two eyes differ greatly in prescription.
I've just tried setting them while they are upside-down.

I first closed my left eye and then used the focus knob to get a distant object into focus for the right eye. I then closed my right eye and used the diopter setting to try to get the left eye's image in focus.

I was hopeful that might work when I thought about it. I do have slightly different prescriptions for each eye, so it made sense that if I can get things very close to being in focus one way round, perhaps flipping barrels would work. It doesn't quite, unfortunately.

I may try again, because as before, it gets tantalisingly close. Also I've noticed that they can sometimes look much better even with the same settings, presumably due to my squidgy eyes and the lenses in them not always being in exactly the same state.

The more I think about it, the vast majority of use with the Travelites has been with my glasses on. I need my glasses on for hiking and it's usually inconvenient to keep taking them off on the odd occasion that I am using the binoculars.

So I just need to man-up and get on with it. I've just spent some time looking over the fields with the Ultravids, with my glasses on, and they are joyous.
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 20:27   #16
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The eyes prescription changes during the day, and also with light levels. Day and night being slightly different.
Our accommodation also changes due to tiredness etc.

So it would not be unusual to reach infinity focus sometimes and not at other times using a binocular without glasses.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 10:41   #17
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I'd be very grateful if anyone with this binocular could spare the time to check how the diopter works on theirs. I think mine is probably working okay, but there's a nagging doubt that maybe there is a fault that is stopping me get both barrels to infinity without glasses.

I find that if I turn the focus wheel all the way clockwise till it stops, and then turn the diopter arrow all the way anti-clockwise, I can then turn the focus knob even further clockwise. And once I've done that, the diopter setting is stuck, i.e. I can't move it either left or right.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 11:36   #18
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Monty,

The Leica site gives the dioptre compensation range as +/- 3.5 dioptres.
If the binocular is accurately set up I would expect that to be correct.

If your distance glasses have a prescription of 3.5 dioptres in both eyes or less then I expect the binocular should focus without glasses.
However, opticians set distance as about 20ft. It isn't as it is much further.
I have astro glasses set at 37 metres, which is better, but still not infinity.
The difference between 20ft and infinity is 1/6 dioptre.

You will also have some accommodation.

If there is also astigmatism correction in the glasses lenses that could complicate the calculation.

I would think that Leica means infinity for its specs.

Regards,
B.

P.S.
My Leica Trinovid 10x25 seems about correct as per Leica specs of +/- 3.5 dioptres.
At least viewing chimney pots at 103 metres.

I don't have an 8x20 Ultravid, also listed as +/- 3.5 dioptres.

P.P.S.
Not sure if available any more but Swarovski 8x20 Habicht may have +/- 5 dioptre compensation range.

Last edited by Binastro : Sunday 28th April 2019 at 12:29.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 13:17   #19
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Frustratingly, I just became aware of the Swarovski 8x20 Habicht, they are lighter than the Ultravid 8x20 and can be had for quite a bit less money than I paid for the Ultravids on eBay occasionally.

Oh dear. I don't want to go down the route of spending a ton of money trying to find the ideal lightweight binocular, so I'll just tell myself that the Ultravids are better optically than the 8x20 Habicht, and forget that they exist :) I *think* their eye relief is 13mm anyway, so I may well have the opposite problem, and only be able to use them without glasses. If I had to choose always with glasses or always without, I'd choose with.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 14:30   #20
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I just got back from a local walk with the Ultravids.

Just about an hour, so it was the type of walk where I'd be happy to carry any size/weight of binocular. But I'm glad I had the Ultravids :)

They also survived the "sauna test": they were around my neck, under my jacket as I walked up a steep hill and got quite sweaty. No sign of internal fogging.

If there is one other niggle I noticed, compared with the Travelites, it's the eyepiece covers / rain covers. There are two separate ones, and they are quite tight. On the Travelites, there is one combined rain cover and they are very loose. I remember some people complaining they were too loose when I was looking at reviews all those years ago. But I like that you can easily and quickly flip them off. It's a small thing, but it does add up on a walking trip where you are constantly taking them off and putting them on again. I guess a loose, combined rain cover is the kind of thing I'll be able to make/find elsewhere.
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 15:06   #21
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I just got back from a local walk with the Ultravids.

Just about an hour, so it was the type of walk where I'd be happy to carry any size/weight of binocular. But I'm glad I had the Ultravids :)

They also survived the "sauna test": they were around my neck, under my jacket as I walked up a steep hill and got quite sweaty. No sign of internal fogging.

If there is one other niggle I noticed, compared with the Travelites, it's the eyepiece covers / rain covers. There are two separate ones, and they are quite tight. On the Travelites, there is one combined rain cover and they are very loose. I remember some people complaining they were too loose when I was looking at reviews all those years ago. But I like that you can easily and quickly flip them off. It's a small thing, but it does add up on a walking trip where you are constantly taking them off and putting them on again. I guess a loose, combined rain cover is the kind of thing I'll be able to make/find elsewhere.
Monty,

While the specs i found did indicate the SW 8x20 has + 5 -5 diopter correction vs 3.5 for the UV, the eye relief on the SW is 13 mm vs 15 for the UV. I own both models and for me the UV delivers full FOV with close fitting sunglasses whereas the SW loses noticeable FOV with glasses.

The Opticron compact rainguard will work on the UV and can be flipped off more quickly. You can carefully cut off the all the attachment lugs on the Opticron except the one you actually use for a more compact package.

Mike
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 21:02   #22
MontyH
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Monty,

While the specs i found did indicate the SW 8x20 has + 5 -5 diopter correction vs 3.5 for the UV, the eye relief on the SW is 13 mm vs 15 for the UV. I own both models and for me the UV delivers full FOV with close fitting sunglasses whereas the SW loses noticeable FOV with glasses.

The Opticron compact rainguard will work on the UV and can be flipped off more quickly. You can carefully cut off the all the attachment lugs on the Opticron except the one you actually use for a more compact package.

Mike
Great info, thanks.

I've been using the Ultravids quite a bit today, including in the evening in less light, and am loving them more the more I get used to them.

So I'm going to stop thinking about other possibilities, and "invest" in them by getting the compact rain guard. One just came up on eBay second hand but unused for a fiver, postage included. Thanks for the top tip.
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Old Monday 29th April 2019, 07:39   #23
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Monty,

I've been following this thread with interest. FWIW I've owned some 10x25 Trinovid BCA's since the 90's and until a few years ago they were my only binocular. They were bought to use at concerts when the stage was a long way away (I could only afford the cheap seats then!). Personally I feel that these compact bins (8x20 10X25) sometimes don't have the standing that they deserve. Yes, an exit pupil of 2.5mm can make getting the IPD tricky to get right, and yes, of course they are dimmer in poor light than a x32 or x42, but the optical quality from these little gems from Leica is stunning (the Ultravid that you have being even better), and one quickly gets used to the handling. I've had many many hours of enjoyable viewing from my 10x25's.

These days I have some 'alpha' full size bins, including the 10x42 Noctivid, but I can still come back to the 10x25 BCA's and thoroughly enjoy them for what they are. I'd suggest that it's easy to be happy with what you've got when it's something as good as an Ultravid 8x20! Enjoy that lovely Leica view!

Michael.
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Old Tuesday 30th April 2019, 16:37   #24
MontyH
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Monty,

While the specs i found did indicate the SW 8x20 has + 5 -5 diopter correction vs 3.5 for the UV, the eye relief on the SW is 13 mm vs 15 for the UV. I own both models and for me the UV delivers full FOV with close fitting sunglasses whereas the SW loses noticeable FOV with glasses.

The Opticron compact rainguard will work on the UV and can be flipped off more quickly. You can carefully cut off the all the attachment lugs on the Opticron except the one you actually use for a more compact package.

Mike
The Opticron compact rainguards have arrived. I think they are as good as I could hope for, considering they are "universal". The bridge is bendy enough for them to stay on even when the binoculars are folded almost completely closed. They stay on well when the bins are hung around my neck, and are so loose that I can just tip the bins upside-down with one hand to remove them. Thanks again for the tip.

But...

Now I have a bit of a dilemma over the case. I want something very small and very light. I've already found a cheap and cheerful case lying around from a cheapo set of binoculars which fits the Ultravids perfectly sideways, but only if I stick to the individual rain covers:

In the case

Case closed

The packed size is a great improvement over the Travelite's:

Front comparison

Side comparison

The re-purposed case weights just 27g / 1oz. But I think I can do better - maybe a lighter, harder case, so I'll be keeping my eye out for other things on my travels. I've already ordered another case from eBay, it's semi-hard, and it may just fit the Ultravids in, with the Opticron rain guards on.

As I mentioned earlier, I really don't care what it looks like. I also don't particularly want to advertise that there's an expensive bit of Leica equipment inside the case, in case I leave it lying around in a public setting.

Last edited by MontyH : Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 16:41.
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Old Tuesday 30th April 2019, 16:45   #25
MontyH
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Monty,

I've been following this thread with interest. FWIW I've owned some 10x25 Trinovid BCA's since the 90's and until a few years ago they were my only binocular. They were bought to use at concerts when the stage was a long way away (I could only afford the cheap seats then!). Personally I feel that these compact bins (8x20 10X25) sometimes don't have the standing that they deserve. Yes, an exit pupil of 2.5mm can make getting the IPD tricky to get right, and yes, of course they are dimmer in poor light than a x32 or x42, but the optical quality from these little gems from Leica is stunning (the Ultravid that you have being even better), and one quickly gets used to the handling. I've had many many hours of enjoyable viewing from my 10x25's.

These days I have some 'alpha' full size bins, including the 10x42 Noctivid, but I can still come back to the 10x25 BCA's and thoroughly enjoy them for what they are. I'd suggest that it's easy to be happy with what you've got when it's something as good as an Ultravid 8x20! Enjoy that lovely Leica view!

Michael.
Thanks Michael.

This thread, plus a bit of extra looking around and comparisons, has convinced me that I've got an excellent pair of binoculars here. They are quite probably the best I could find for my purposes.
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